WDB Agency Round Table - Part # 3

Not every digital marketing campaign is going to be a success.So what are the main reasons why campaigns don’t deliver? More often than not, there was insufficient research conducted prior to launching the campaign. Poor research leads to a myriad of problems. But failures can teach us more than successes can. We learn what not to do the next time, hopefully.


Not targeting the right persona, using the wrong messaging or channels to reach those personas or simply not giving the campaign enough time to breathe for it to be successful. Are your goals for the campaign unrealistic or out of reach? Brands need to spend time understanding their personas and what their buyer’s journey looks like and then deliver the right message at the right times during that journey.


We asked the MAST council during our Round Table session from their experience what are some of the reasons digital marketing campaigns are successful and why others simply fail? Here’s what they had to say.


What is the root cause of unsuccessful digital marketing campaigns?


“Lack of measurement and understanding . Scale in digital media and cheap CPMs come with more fraud and viewability risks. Reducing those will increase media costs but improve the overall customer pathway. All too often post click does not get optimized.” - Rob Griffin


“It is advertisers reallocating more dollars to digital and seeing that it doesn’t grow sales as much as they had expected.” - Brad Adgate


“Poor planning and strategy, but also lack of first-hand experience. Having worked recently with both agencies and brands, I often spend a lot of time with account managers, or marketing managers, who have read a post about some new marketing effort they should try, and so they add that tactic the weekly call, or marketing mix, for an upcoming project, without fully vetting it first. Often, these “new” tactics don’t produce the results they hoped it would, and this makes that person appear naïve.My belief is that the “marketing team” needs to test-out and document everything before anything specific can be recommended.


I also think that marketing managers and account managers are often not truly comfortable with the topics that they are supposed to be experts in, so when clients or supervisors ask important follow-ups, they are caught in a hard place to communicate the challenges or opportunity…while you make every effort to set realistic expectations, occasionally you will fall short. Failure is a part of marketing, and most often that miss, leads to greater understanding, future successes and new opportunities. In fact, I think you need to budget for failure, and just make sure you are tracking everything (being responsible about it) so that you can learn from these experiences and communicate that learning to the rest of the team.” – Brett Carneiro


“Not knowing your target audience is the root of all evil. I’ve seen people target too broadly and I’ve seen people target too narrowly. You can’t be everything to everyone (too broad) or so narrow that there’s no volume. SO many clients I have for PPC on the B2B side will say they want specific industries for their software for example. The reality is people do not in a search query very often. That’s where audience targeting is huge.” - Jackie LaVana


“The root cause unsuccessful campaigns are Inconsistency, lack of persistence, out of touch with customer needs” - Stephen Dill


“Unsuccessful marketing campaigns, not just digital marketing campaigns, are often the result of misguided strategy and poorly aligned implementation. Let me explain. As marketers, we can become enamored with strategic insights and fall into the trap of outthinking ourselves. There’s a great saying that rings truer today than ever before: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”We can dig for insights, but if we don’t align those insights with an innate understanding of the larger cultural context, the results will be underwhelming, or worse, come off as inauthentic or tin-eared.


Couple lack cultural context with poorly aligned implementation and you’ve perfected the recipe for disaster. Digital marketing cannot exist in a silo apart from all other marketing – paid, owned or earned. The internal walls that we create as agencies and businesses simply do not exist in the outside world.


Consumers only engage with one brand. And with limited resources and high expectations, we should do everything we can to maximize investment and impact. That means giving every discipline a seat at the table and finding ways to integrate knowledge to make our work as effective as humanly possible.” - Tony Labriola

             “Laziness, improper planning, market saturation, etc.” - Derek Sawaya

 “Lack of market research, persona-definition & strategic planning before execution.   Failure to research = failure to know your target audience.  Without truly knowing your audience and the message that you want to convey to them, you can have missteps that cause re-work or, in bad cases, failures like that Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad- coming across as tone deaf.”


- Evan Doherty


What are the elements of a successful digital marketing campaign?


“It's always paid search because you have hand raisers. The key here is understanding how to create the right balance between paid and organic traffic.” - Rob Griffin


“I think every campaign should rely on a broad spectrum of media digital and traditional media. The target audience and budget play a big role the media selection.” - Brad Adgate


“Solid strategy and planning always important, so these are elements that would help you upfront to get the most out of your activities. I also think clearly defining what it is that you are trying to achieve with this (goal setting) marketing campaign or effort, is a great way to focus you (as a marketing manager) on what the actual goals are. Is it simply “generate more sales” or is it “generate more sales from a highly specific audience set, who is more likely to appreciate the product, and even if they don’t buy this item, we might be able to get them to sign up and sell them down the road?”


If the goal is to sell brand awareness, I think you need to be very focused on setting expectations too, with your supervisors or clients. I’ve worked on several projects where the client said they wanted “brand awareness” but they wanted lead generation. So be clear about what you are doing, and setting expectations around what is being sign-off on.


I also think, at the end of the day, you know if you have good elements, by whether you can repeat that success with other projects or clients.” - Brett Carneiro


“Targeting and optimizing. Nothing is set it and forget it. Also, messaging should be on point. For example, I work with a travel company right now- highlight the holidays, winter escapes, etc. Don’t just serve generic creative.”- Jackie LaVana


“A successful digital marketing campaign starts with a culturally attuned strategy, brought to life through a solid creative expression, extended through a search-fueled earned media and influencer marketing program and expanded through an insightful paid media program. All these elements need to be developed and implemented together – rather than bolted on like some sort of Frankensteinian monster.


Does that mean that successful digital marketing can only be implemented by an integrated agency? That’s not the case at all. Rather, smart clients and collaborative teams that understand the end-benefit of an end-to-end digital marketing program, that actually transcends digital marketing, can bring these kinds of programs to bear.”


- Tony Labriola


“I think that some of the elements of a successful digital marketing campaign include:  1. a deep and thorough knowledge of the target audience and that audience’s behavior patterns (Who are they?Where do they hang out?What is the best channel to use to reach them?) 2.The right mix of channels/tactics to reach them- Social media, display ads, SEO, paid search, email marketing- even TV in some cases 3.Clear access to analytics and the ability to use them to justify ROI.”


- Evan Doherty


“Testing and measurement” - Stephen Dill


“Knowing the market. Defining your goals. Being realistic with your time. Good flow of information in a short and concise manner. Great funnel/CTR and UX. Offering real value to the customer.” - Derek Sawaya


In 2018, brands and companies need to be thinking about creating interesting content that people would be willing to engage with. There is a lot of disruption out in the marketplace. It is tough to get someone’s attention. What type of content does your target audience tend to interact with? Does it deliver social proof and credibility for your brand? Do you have a weekly blog or are you using social media to distribute your content?


What is the best content that a brand should be focusing on creating this year?


“Look at the keywords driving traffic to your site. Look at what content your audiences to share. Start there.” - Rob Griffin


“It’s the environment the ads are in works. Do they work with the creative? Also, an evaluation of six-second ads and are they working.” - Brad Adgate


“I don’t think anyone can ignore . Double-down on video. And then take that investment in your video to properly support it, and give it the framework it needs to be discovered on your website. Create content hubs for each video (landing pages) that will rank for that topic and focus. Use the actual content from the video, which you already have, to create the appropriate copy to support that video. Some companies just type up all the speech from the video, and use that on the landing page, for SEO and inbound strategies.” - Brett Carneiro


“Given the challenges of digital content density and the fact that organic reach is practically nil, the best content must carry some cultural weight. That said, we’ve seen some ham-fisted attempts by brands to become culturally relevant (exhibit A: the Pepsi/Kendall Jenner fiasco). Striking a balance between cultural relevance and brand authenticity is paramount. And consumers will be the ultimate barometer of where a brand has permission to tread. With that, those brands with an innate understanding of both their consumer champions and their brand purpose stand the best chance of hitting the mark and producing content, regardless of medium, that will resonate.”- Tony Labriola


“Tough question- I would say whatever content resonates best with your audience. That can differ from client to client and industry to industry.” - Evan Doherty


 “How that brand is solving their client’s most vexing problems” - Stephen Dill


“UX/Visuals, video, /resource materials, classes, contests, etc.” - Derek Sawaya


What do you think are the biggest challenges for marketing managers this year?


A lack of understanding regarding the changes in consumer behavior impacting CRM and media. This then bleeds into the relationship a has with their agency or consultancy. This fosters trust issues that affect how can understand their digital supply chain holistically. - Rob Griffin


Measurement. If you can’t measure something accurately how do you know it is working? There is a more demand than ever to show the media that advertisers invest in is working.Many Fortune 500 companies have stagnant growth. Thant’s why there is turnover in CMO’s across many companies. - Brad Adgate


I think clients are getting a lot more sophisticated when it comes to asking the right kinds of questions, and expecting more transparency between what client services people present to them in weekly reports, and wanting (expecting) to see that data first-hand. I think great marketing managers have to always be learning more, to stay ahead of their clients and customers, and so ongoing education is the best way to do that. Read more. Get into the data. Talk with your Directors to see how you will handle certain questions about data and analytics.


At a really high level – the industry is changing so quickly – in so many different directions – so there is a lot to keep up with. Even certain tactics that marketing managers may have had a good handle on are now shifting, so what you knew about “email marketing” several years ago, may be different now. So lean into conversations happening around you, ask friends about what they have seen work, read post that are online, and try to educate yourself in areas where your “day to day” doesn’t give you visibility into, just so you can be more attuned and informed to how things work and what is going on. - Brett Carneiro


The biggest challenge facing marketing managers this year isn’t technological or digital – it’s cultural. Given the tenor and tone of the current dialogue, and the deep divides that have emerged within our society, we can only expect more as we race headlong into mid-term elections. Most marketing managers shy away from political discourse. That seems to be impossible these days. To deny what is happening in the world around us is to seem disconnected and uninvolved. For marketing managers, that means navigating the line between safety and relevance. In this day and age, it seems as if you can’t have both. - Tony Labriola


Deciding which techniques and channels to use and then tracking their effectiveness.A strong analysis to present proof of ROI is important and balancing that with the preparation and execution of a marketing campaign can be daunting. - Evan Doherty


 Integrating marketing with engineering, operations, and IT for optimal user experiences as well as keeping ahead of the change curve for customer needs and expectations. Adding whatever resources are needed to gather,  analyzand utilize the data effectively. – Stephen Dill


              Ensuring a brand's authentic voice stand out in today's cluttered marketplace.


              - Derek Sawaya


Advertising successfully in today’s world of constant disruption isn’t easy. There is a lot of trial and error that is needed before you find the right mix of channels and strategies. And even those may have a short shelf life. Learning from others and collaborating on best practices is a great way to figure out what works best without breaking the bank. Every new shiny thing that enters the market doesn’t need to be utilized. Do your due diligence and you can always reach out to members of our council with your questions.


If you are interested in participating in our next session or want to talk to us about an upcoming project that you need help with, please reach out to ron@wdb.agency

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